Heriot-Watt MBA exams in 2020?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by nomaduser, Apr 17, 2020.

  1. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    Hello guys,

    I'm interested in Heriot-Watt University's MBA program. This is one of the few exam-based MBA programs.. Honestly, I don't know if there's any other program like this.


    I found an old 2010 thread about this program below:

    A lot of users had said the exams were extremely difficult but that was about a decade ago and I don't know if their discussion is still valid.
    Have any of you guys taken the exams recently? if so, would you share your experience with us?
    How did you prepare for Heriot-Watt MBA exams? and how long did it take for you to pass their nine exams?

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
  2. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    Anyone? I'm about to purchase their exams... but there are not many recent threads / discussions about this program.
    Some of Heriot-Watt MBA threads are over a decade old.

    I think this is the best program for me. It fits my budget (10k British pounds) and I'll be able to test them all out.
  3. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    What is your end goal for pursuing an MBA? Looking at the course offerings, it appears that the program really emphasizes soft skills and does not put a lot of emphasis on quantitative topics. Having said that, if I remember correctly, I have heard good things about their programs.
    nomaduser likes this.
  4. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Well-Known Member

    True, they are quite respected here in Europe!!
  5. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member

    It has been a few years but from what I've gleaned
    nomaduser likes this.
  6. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member

    Disagree with the "soft skills" comment; there is no group work and you can pick a curriculum that is quite quantitative if that be your choice (e.g. derivative valuation or an MSc in Finance). I don't think the essence of the program has changed; it is still based on rigorous examinations. The school has added a pre-doc certificate and a Phd program to go along with the DBA. They've increased the use of technology but not in any real "transformative" way (i.e. you can download the text book, self-quizzes are online vs in book, etc.).
    nomaduser likes this.
  7. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member

  8. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I guess when I compare it to other MBA programs, it seems less quantitative. If it appears quant heavy to you, then okay. ☺️
    nomaduser likes this.
  9. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    Thanks for your reply.

    Obviously, I want to advance in my career and get better job positions. If I'm interested in working in trading & finance industry, do you guys think Hariot-Watt's MSc in Financial Management can be a better option? Actually, I'm working as a finance product developer. However, I lack academic credentials in the field to advance my career. A lot of people here have discussed Hariot-Watt's exam-based MBA but they indeed offer MSc in Financial Management as well. The exam's price is the same.


    Anyways, if you guys have any experience with their recent exams, please share your experience.
  10. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

  11. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member


    It is a 1 yr MBA, so the number of finance courses you can take is limited by design (i.e. it isn't a quantitative finance degree nor have a year of finance courses on top of a 1 yr MBA). I think the Finance, Risk Mgmt, and Derivatives courses are as quantitative as anything.

    Although they limit the sophistication of calculators in the exams... which pretty much means calculating value at risk by hand; no sure what value that was for me but I guess it made me learn the calculation well :)
    nomaduser likes this.
  12. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    There are quantitative courses but the vast majority of the MBA course offerings appeared to be courses aimed at enhancing soft skills. It is not a bad thing as a lot of MBA programs, even at top business schools, are aimed at soft skills. Over the past few years, I have noticed a switch in a lot of business schools that incorporate more quantitative courses as requirements.
  13. AsianStew

    AsianStew Active Member

    Back in 2003 a good friend asked me how to get a Bachelors degree from zero, I told him to get one from Excelsior by going the exam route - he finished it in a good year (2004). He then asked about an MBA in 2009, finished it in a year in 2010 (Yes, he took the MBA at HW!). He asked about another MS Finance or MS Financial Management in 2013, I reminded him he did his MBA at HW, to go back for the MS which he finished in 2014.

    My suggestion for you is to get your college credits evaluated and make sure you get the Bachelors first, in any study, it won't really matter, a Liberal Arts/Studies degree is a good degree none the less, but if MBA is where you are heading, I suggest a Business Admin degree instead. Then work on your studies to get a better grasp of those MBA courses before you actually do the exam.

    HW may be fast, but they're not the best option nowadays, there are cheaper/easier but not faster as most will take at least a year or two. I would recommend the Competency-Based degrees or the MOOC options as you really do learn the materials better that way instead of cramming for an exam in the case of HW, moreoever, there are a few ACBSP or AACSB accredited programs now, HW doesn't have that programmatic or secondary accreditation.
    JoshD and nomaduser like this.
  14. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member


    I think you should consider Mac Juli's comments above. Perhaps you consider "competency-based degrees" and "MOOCs" equivalent to EBS but that is not necessarily the case. My limited anecdotal experience is consistent with Mac Juli's and is the opposite of what you suggest.
    nomaduser likes this.
  15. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    I agree. Hariot-Watt is a very reputable institution.
    There's no other program which comes with such efficiency, time, reputation and cost.

    I'll search a little bit more about their MSc in Financial Management program and see how they compare.
  16. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member


    I think "efficient" depends highly on the hours required to prepare for the exams. If you are "genius level" or have a very deep background in a topic, it may be more efficient than a course where projects are required. Otherwise, you may find that just as many hours are required as for a program not entirely exam based.

    It also used to be that you could only fail an exam twice (i.e. if you fail the second attempt, you are kicked out of the program).
    nomaduser likes this.
  17. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    Thanks for your advice. That's true. They still give you max two attempts per an exam. According to their website, fail rate is about 30%.
  18. nomaduser

    nomaduser Active Member

    Heriot-Watt university's admission agent confirmed that they give 'interim awards' per three exams!

    So once you pass their first three exams, you will be eligible to receive their post-graduate certificate.
    After you pass their sixth exam, you'll get a post-graduate diploma.
    Then when you pass their ninth exam, you'll receive MBA degree.

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